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Masai Mara National Park, Kenya: where it is, when to go and what to see


The Masai Mara is the natural extension of the Serengeti, one of the protected natural areas of East Africa, and is located in the Rift Valley, at an altitude ranging from 1.500 to 2.200 meters. The name derives from that of the Masai people and the Mara River, which crosses the Reserve from north to south.
The largest number of safaris take place here where you can spot the famous big five and, above all, enjoy the spectacular migration of wildebeest, zebras and antelopes.

Masai Mara is one of the most expensive parks in Kenya and the largest: it has many more tracks than the others and it is easier to get close to the animals.
We see below all the useful information to organize a visit to the Masai Mara park.



Index

  1. Where it is
  2. When to go? Info on climate and best time
  3. What to bring: recommended clothing and equipment
  4. 10 things to see in the Masai Mara
  5. Excursions and guided tours in the Masai Mara
  6. How much does a Safari in the Masai Mara cost? Prices, offers and advice
  7. User questions and comments

Where it is

The Masai Mara Nature Reserve is located in southwestern Kenya, on the border with Tanzania, in the famous Rift Valley.
The park was founded in 1961 and has an extension of 1.510 sq km made up of hilly pastures and forests: it is practically a savannah, with many acacia trees along the south-east area and the Mara and Telek rivers that bathe the plain of the Reserve.


How to reach us

  • From Milan: one hour and 15 minutes stopover at Doha International Airport. Then we leave for Nairobi airport. Total duration about 13 hours - Compare flights from Milan - from € 405,44
  • From Rome: a 3-hour stopover at Roissy-Charles de Gaulle in Paris, from here there is a flight to Nairobi. Total duration 13 and a half hours - Compare flights from Rome - from € 419,37
  • From the main European capitals: from Paris direct flight to Nairobi with Air France (duration about 9 hours). From London 8 - 9 hour direct flight with British Airways. From Berlin you have to make a stopover in Frankfurt for 1 hour and 15 minutes with Lufthansa.
    Compare flights to Masai Mara - from € 375,58

How to reach the Masai Mara

To get to the Masai Mara there is a domestic flight from Wilson Airport in Nairobi which leads to the vicinity of the Park, served by Mara Serena Airport, Musiara Airport and Keekorok Airport. Alternatively you can choose the car, as the Masai Mara is 300 km from the capital, but it takes at least 6 hours due to poor road conditions.


When to go? Info on climate and best time

  • Weather: pleasantly warm. Slightly higher temperatures from October to March, a little cooler from June to August. There are no completely dry periods, but the wettest month is April, the driest month is July. Average temperatures between 25 and 28 degrees throughout the year, minimum at 12 ° C.
  • Best time: from June to September, being the coolest and driest, from July to October for the migration of wildebeest. Alternatively, January and February, another relatively dry season. In general, the animals are visible from July to October, with a higher probability in August and September.
  • Period to avoid: March / May and to a lesser extent October / December, as rainy seasons.
  • Advice: Once you arrive at your camp / lodge, you can choose whether to participate in half-day or full-day safaris, so study the area in which you intend to stay: if you need an hour or more to reach the most populated by animals, it is better to opt to stay out all day, while if you are close you can also do a half-day safari. Finally, it is very important to have a guide / driver who knows the park well and will certainly make you spend unforgettable moments!

What to bring: recommended clothing and equipment

  • Clothing: dresses with colors close to those of nature, such as khaki, brown, dark green, beige. Avoid bright colors because they could scare the animals and always carry a hat with you to protect your head from the sun, sunscreen, sunglasses. During the day wear a t-shirt, Bermuda shorts, closed shoes, in the evening a k-way and a light sweatshirt. Don't forget a light raincoat or umbrella for rainy periods.
  • Equipment: travel light and prefer soft bags, duffel bags and backpacks over hard suitcases. Bring a good camera with a powerful zoom lens, binoculars, repellent, lots of water, tea or juice and some energy snacks in case it gets too hot

10 things to see in the Masai Mara



  1. Big five: lions, leopards, rhinos, elephants and buffaloes live in the Masai Mara Park and therefore can be spotted. You have to be lucky because the reserve is very large, but here it is easier to get close thanks to the numerous paths that can be traveled.
  2. Migration of wildebeest, zebras and antelopes: before the rains arrive in October and November, you can witness the great migration of wildebeest, zebras and antelopes that transform the prairies into a sea of ​​horns, tails, humps and manes up to the horizon. Unmissable show!
  3. Nile crocodiles: Nile crocodiles, large aquatic reptiles that can reach six meters in length, can be seen in the Telek and Mara rivers. They live on average from 70 to 100 years and enjoy the bad reputation of being man-eaters!
  4. Mara River: the river is the protagonist of migrations, when animals move between the Masai Mara and the Serengeti. In addition, it is home to hippos, crocodiles and several species of birds.
  5. Predators: with a good dose of luck, you can see leopards, spotted hyenas, cheetahs, black-backed and striped jackals, ocelots, caracals, wild dogs (difficult to spot because they are almost extinct).
  6. Birds: for Birdwatching lovers this is the right place! There are 570 species of birds including ostriches, guinea fowls, turacos, kingfishers, gray crowned cranes, bustards, storks. The best time to observe them is from November to April, when the species that migrate here from Europe are present.
  7. RaptorsThere are 57 species of birds of prey, such as vultures, marabou storks, snakes, buzzards, pygmy hawks, eagles of various species and owls, along with other nocturnal birds of prey.
  8. Wildebeest cubs: in the months of January and February, the births of the pups of many species of herbivores, in particular the pups of the wildebeest, occur. A very exciting show indeed!
  9. Masai villages: the villages have a precise structure, with an enclosure of thorny bushes and trunks to protect the inhabitants from attacks by predators. In the center, another smaller thorny enclosure where precious animals are brought during the night and, around it, the circular huts made of mud and straw.
  10. Masai Mara from the hot air balloon: one of the typical excursions is to go on a hot air balloon safari, thus being able to see the Masai Mara from above. Plains, rivers, animals and Tanzania's Serengeti National Park are all things you can see aboard the hot air balloon.

Excursions and guided tours in the Masai Mara

How much does a Safari in the Masai Mara cost? Prices, offers and advice

First of all it must be said that Safaris start from a minimum of two days and usually last a week. Furthermore, the Masai Mara Park is more expensive than others, mainly due to air flights to reach it which cost at least € 400,00.
Starting from these assumptions, the price of the Safari starts from around € 700,00 to approximately € 3.000 per week.

Obviously, the type of accommodation, the services requested and the means of transport have a great impact: for example, the lodges can have medium standards (cost about € 100,00 per day) or high standards with costs around € 500,00 per night. Campsites cost much less but sometimes hide pitfalls such as theft, few services, possible nocturnal raids of dangerous animals.

Entrance to the park costs approximately $ 80,00 per day, while food prices vary from € 20,00 to € 25,00.
One of the most beautiful excursions is certainly the balloon safari, which costs around $ 400,00 per person.
There are interesting flight + hotel packages which start at around € 2.000,00 per person, taking into consideration a "comfort tent" accommodation.



Travel informed: useful information

  • Inhabitants: 48,46 million
  • Capital: Nairobi
  • Languages: Swahili and English
  • Local currency: Kenyan shilling (Ksh or Kes) / Exchange rate: € 1,00 = 118,14 Kes; 1 Kes = € 0,0085
  • Weather: in Kenya there are three types of climate, namely hot and humid along the coast (averages of 26/27 ° C), temperate in the west and southwest where there are mountains, parks and plateaus (averages 24/25 ° C); torrid in the northern part with average temperatures around 27 degrees
  • vaccinations: there are no mandatory vaccinations, but those for yellow fever, hepatitis A, hepatitis B, malaria, typhus and especially antimalarial prophylaxis are recommended
  • Entry requirements: you must have a passport with a residual validity of at least six months and a tourist visa. The stay is limited to three months
  • Travel / health insurance: recommended.

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